You’re a professional person with a great reputation. You know that I’m talking about you, don’t you? I wanted to know more about you and what you have been up to. We aren’t connected on facebook are we.tldr; (too long didn't read - jump to the end)
The reason for this post is simple. I haven’t researched you as yet, but what about the colleagues you work with, your friends and family too. This post is the result of doing some volunteer research for an absent father. Based on the only piece of information, a surname and military number from WWII, the MOD were kind enough to supply his records. In the records an address from 1938, and a date of marriage. A certain ancestry site added more clues including his wife’s name, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and second cousins. A directory site turned up some surname matches in the nearby area, it’s great how some families don’t move far from the nest.
Now came the catch, but the most revealing. A letter was dispatched to the address of the possible step-uncle & aunt. The result, a call from a relation of theirs. All he gave was his name, he was understandably and rightly trying to be security conscious and not revealing too much, however a simple name was like finding a clue to a treasure trove of more information. Facebook accounts had photos of weddings and birthday wishes to family members. Someone had commented “the terrible twins 18th birthday” on a photo, perfect for identifying 2 dates of birth for the price of 1 comment, and as the parents had been on the public electoral roll for many years, we know they hadn’t left that address. The cat and dog, Sparkle and Rover, so cute, but so revealing, shame they couldn’t have joined the children in school, a race day photo clearly showed Blackpool High School for Boys. The family tree was complete. It was a fruitful time researching and we’re hopeful for a meeting with the relatives soon.
Why the post ?
It is worrying that today the message isn’t getting through to people, whether they are friends, family, or colleagues, contacts sharing information openly on social media can be used maliciously. During a couple of hours of research, a host of information was gathered that could answer a number of security questions including the first school attended, pet’s names, the road people lived on when they were 10, and mother’s maiden names.
What to do?
When you are next on your favourite social media, take a look at the security options, opt to have information visible only to your friends and family, and consider asking them to do the same.